One of the greatest benefits of the information age is that it has leveled the playing field between those who know and those who need to know.
Just as the printing press helped to widen literacy beyond the ruling class in the 15th century, so too has the Internet widened access to nearly any topic imaginable to anyone with a computer in the 21st century.
Not too long ago, anyone who wanted to gain a high degree of knowledge and skills had to attend college. Today, an exceptional online library and a greater appreciation of learning through real-life experience has widened the learning opportunities.
For example, some of the high demand professions today, like graphic design, web content development, and computer programming, require skills that can be developed through independent study using online resources, internships, and mentorships. Plus, interactive and professionally developed seminars and conferences are available in almost every career specialty.
The real value of continuing education today is that it is multi-faceted and it can be done independently.
There is a wider variety of tools and services that you can access online, in your community, or across the country than ever before. And these learning resources make it easy to boost your skills, talents, knowledge, and value without following the long, costly, and sometimes irrelevant, college route.
Here are some of the tools and resources that will help you gain a greater understanding of your subject area:
- Audio MP3s can deliver hours of content while you commute or do other tasks.
- Videos allow you to watch an instructor deliver demonstrations and talks without having to physically be there.
- Live, interactive seminars and conferences give you the opportunity to learn in-person, on the phone, or online.
- Professional associations and peer groups that offer one-on-one mentorship and coaching will guide you through available resources and teach you tried and tested techniques.
- Internships sponsored by large employers or small business owners help you gain the knowledge and experience of hands-on tasks.
Attending college is only one option and, depending on your professional needs and life priorities, there are likely far more effective and beneficial alternatives to achieving your educational goals!
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